Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Light shineth in the darkness...

Sermon preached at Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis on the Feast of the Nativity 2014

Have you noticed that, these days, the night is never actually dark? That might actually sound obvious to you with the levels of light pollution from streetlamps, headlights, security lights and, at the present time, the gaudy light from a thousand electric santas, snowmen and reindeer adorning our streets. The night truly is as bright as the day and yet we still think of the darkness of the night. It has to be said, though, that all these lights are artificial. We create our own light to lighten our own darkness to see where we want to see. What happens in a power cut? What happens in countries where street lights are a luxury?


If the light goes out, then we could use the moon and the stars, but it would be a terribly dark night if it's overcast with clouds. There would be nothing to light the path save whatever little light we bring us. A tiny candle in the darkness seems not to do very much. When there is no light, we either blunder around trying to move forward, frightened by the sudden shapes that appear through the gloom. It seems easier to sit or lie still, and go to sleep and wait for the light to dawn.

We use our artificial lights to light up where we want to see. We can use a torch to light our path and travel in our own directions. There is no point in shining a light into somewhere we don’t wish to see. Security lights only go on when there is someone there. When there isn’t, they go off again. We can make our way in thick darkness by the light of our own little candle. The thing is, if we’re walking by our own light in such darkness, what guarantee do we have that we will end up where we want to be?


“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Our darkness comes from the fact that we are mortal and our eyes are prevented from seeing beyond that mortal life. If we cannot see then there is no light, but only darkness. Yet, upon us, light has indeed dawned. It isn’t a gaudy artificial light of our own invention, made for us to choose our own paths and go where we choose.This is the Light of Christ with us. It is His light with which we shine to walk in His paths and not ours. We do not know where we are going but we can trust that light to lead us through into the light of Eternity. “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

We cannot comprehend the source of this great light now, but the fact of Jesus Christ born among us points to the reality beyond our own experiences. He has come to be with us so that we might be with Him. This little tiny child, asleep in the manger, waking up crying for some food, being cuddled by His Virgin Mother, this child is our Light.

Has it dawned on us yet?

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